June 14th, 2008
Hillenbrand Hall - Room 380
"Take that, motherf-" T.Rex said, catching himself as he looked back at Jenny. She stood at the end of the hallway, staring at the carnage with wide eyes. She shook ever so slightly, hands covering her mouth.
T.Rex stood and wiped the crowbar clean on the zed's shirt. "Jenny?" he said, approaching her cautiously. "Are you okay?"
Jenny remained silent, still staring at the zombie on the floor. T.Rex gently placed a hand on her shoulder and turned her face to look at him. She gasped, and recoiled slightly at his touch.
"Sweetie? We have to keep moving, okay?" he pleaded.
"I...I've never s-seen you be so - you just..." her voice trailed off.
T.Rex grimaced. "Look, I only do it because I have to. They will never stop unless you make them, ok?"
"No, I get it, I just wasn't expecting it. I'll be fine."
"Good. Gimme your master keys, then."
Jenny took the keyring out of her pocket and handed them to T.Rex. He flipped to the East Wing dormitory master and started to key into the nearest room.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"We gotta get something," T.Rex said with a grin as he unlocked the door. He handed the keys back and listened intently for any noise. Hearing none, he readied his crowbar and opened the door. As he entered, he noticed Jenny was just a step behind him.
"Wait," he said curtly, afraid that there were zeds waiting to ambush them on the other side of the door. He slid into the room and checked the closets and under the beds, finding nothing. He quickly entered the bathroom and pulled back the shower curtain with his crowbar. Just to be safe, he entered the adjacent suite and checked it for zombies.
There were none, and T.Rex let out a sigh. "Follow me," he said, loud enough for Jenny to hear. She joined him in the dorm room and looked around, confused.
"What do we need in here?" she asked.
"I want you to tear down that curtain and use it to clean up the broken glass in the hallway," T.Rex said as he patted the nearby mattress with his hand. "I'll be right behind you with this, and then I want you to come back and grab the other one, okay?"
"Where are we going?"
"The elevator lobby."
"The elevator lobby."
"What, are we gonna jump out the window or something?"
"You can't be serious."
"Of course I'm serious."
"Ryan, we're not jumping three stories, even with a pair of mattresses."
"We're not going to jump three stories. We're going to jump one."
"What are you talking about?"
"It's less than a one-story drop from the North side of the East 3rd floor elevator lobby onto the roof of the central part of the building. We'll land on top of the front of the dining hall. From there we dash across the roof to the loading docks, and then we're about 100 feet from the parking garage. Voilà."
She shot him a skeptical look. "What?" he said. "The whole bottom floor is filled with zombies! I ran into a pack of them trying to get here in the first place. This route takes us above it all, straight over and out of here."
Jenny sighed and set to work. T.Rex hefted the mattress onto its side and slid it all the way to the elevator lobby, still listening carefully for zeds. As he waited for Jenny to bring the second mattress, T.Rex set about clearing the glass that separated them from the nearby roof. With several vicious swings of his crowbar, he shattered the pane of glass and cleared the glass bits from the rim.
When Jenny arrived with the other mattress they worked together to stuff the bulky bedding through the impromptu exit.
"Ladies first," T.Rex said, gesturing outside.
"Uh, I think I'd rather let you go first?" Jenny said hesitantly.
"Don't have to tell me twice," T.Rex said. He climbed up onto the rim and hopped over, landing squarely on the mattresses without incident. "Now toss down your bookbag and I'll catch it!" he said, trying to project his voice without yelling to attract attention. He already regretted the noise of breaking an exterior window, but they were committed at this point.
"Here you go!" Jenny said, and launched her bookbag out the window. T.Rex caught it, but it was unexpectedly heavy and it collapsed him to the ground. He recovered, and motioned for Jenny to follow. He glanced quickly to the parking garage, but didn't see any Fools.
Cautiously, she climbed onto the rim of the window and jumped out, landing comfortably onto the mattresses. "That was kinda fun!" she said, brushing the hair out of her eyes.
"C'mon, babe, almost there," T.Rex urged. He helped her to her feet and they jogged across the gravel roof of Hillenbrand Hall to the rear loading docks. T.Rex ignored the nearby zeds and quickly scanned the sides of the building.
"There!" he pointed to a large bin against the side of the building. "We hop onto that container, down onto the ground, and I want you to run as fast as you can to the second story of the parking garage, okay?"
Jenny nodded and followed him down from the roof to concrete. By now a half a dozen zeds loitering close by had taken notice of the duo and had come to feast. They staggered from multiple directions, eyes wide and mouths agape.
T.Rex growled and sprinted out to face the closest one, an older overweight female zed with tattered clothes. He ran just past the zed, ducking under its outstretched arms. With one fluid motion he turned and rammed his crowbar through the back of its skull until it exited through the zed's face face. T.Rex planted his foot on its back and ripped his crowbar out, ready for his next target.
A pair of Asian zeds had decided that the fleeing Jenny was a more tantalizing target. They staggered for her, ignoring all else.
Fine with me, T.Rex thought as he raced after them. He caught up quickly, and shoved them violently forward from behind. Without the motor skills to compensate, the zombies face planted into the grass, and T.Rex dispatched them both with his crowbar before they could get up.
He stood and turned, panting heavily. Another zed was laying in the grass, an arrow planted firmly in its ear. Grinning, he sprinted towards the next zombie, a muscular black zed. As he closed the distance there was a loud crack of a rifle, and T.Rex's target turned to look up at the noise.
Seizing the opportunity, T.Rex ran straight past the zed and swung his crowbar, hooking the zed in the temple and pulling it to the ground, head wrenched nearly backwards.
When T.Rex stood again there were no zombies in the immediate area standing. Worried about the noise of the rifle, he jogged to the stairwell and headed to the second floor of the parking garage. He threw open the door and saw some of the Fools huddling near the edge of the building.
Rubble and Angel Hair were waiting with weapons drawn as T.Rex ran to them. Jenny sat nearby, crying, as Kamikaze tried to comfort her.
T.Rex strained to catch his breath. "Where...the hell...are Peace and Beard...and Cowboy?"
Kamikaze spoke first. "They went into Hillenbrand. Together. They said they were going to try and look for some food in the dining hall while you were rescuing Jenny. They said they would be back before you got here, but that was a while ago."
No! No no no no no! T.Rex screamed in his head. "Are you kidding?!" he said, not bothering to keep his voice down. "Why did you let them - never mind. Just... fuck. This is bad." He dropped to the ground and fumbled through his pack.
"What do we do now?" Angel Hair asked, looking nervously around the parking garage.
T.Rex grabbed his Mag-Lite flashlight from his bag. He looked at the remaining Fools with a mixture of frustration, fear, and anger. "You three: stay here and guard this area. If I'm not back soon, head towards West State Street, and get Jenny to safety."
"Are you sure?" Rubble said. "Maybe we could help you if you-"
"No," T.Rex cut him off. "Nobody knows this building like I do, and I already know it's a mess in there. If you start to get overrun, fall back. I don't want to lose more today than we have to."
He moved over to Jenny. "And you," he said, kissing her on her forehead. "Stay with them. I know I just got you back, but now I have to go help them, okay?"
She looked back at him through teary eyes and nodded. "I love you," she said. "Be safe."
T.Rex took his flashlight and crowbar and ran for the parking garage stairwell.
Word Count: 53,092